Third time's the charm
Whitworth's Comito recovers from faults to win NCAA crown
LA CROSSE, Wis. -- A foot fault from disappointment, Whitworth senior Carter Comito stepped in the discus circle at Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Roger Harring Stadium on Thursday and prepared to throw yet again.
In danger because of two previous errors in the event’s preliminary round, he had to make a clean attempt on his third and final throw or not advance to the final.
“A lot of it is just confidence,” Comito said. “After I had those two early fouls, I just had to kind of tell myself, ‘You got this, you’ve done it before. Just let it happen’. I’d say the biggest thing probably is confidence.”
Instead, he unleashed a 56.49-meter throw that eclipsed anything from his nearest competitor. Although his three throws in the nine-man final round were longer, he’d already won his third consecutive discus title and the first of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
“After that, it was just a huge relief to get one out there,” Comito said of fouling on his first two throws.
No one else came close. Defiance senior Tom Postema finished second with a top throw of 178-6 (54.42 meters), but once Comito stepped out of his own way, it was a cruise to a third DIII outdoor title and his third All-American honor.
“Nerves, I guess,” he said of his foot faults. “I was trying to throw too far. I just couldn’t relax, a little too on edge.”
[assetId:180163:2013 DIII MEN'S OUTDOOR T&F CHAMPIONSHIP ASSET]In fact, he says his instinct, upon completing that crucial third throw, was to look down at his positioning, rather than where his discus landed.
“It was less when I saw it land and more when I saw my foot step inside the ring,” Comito said. “My first two fouls, my right foot stepped out then my left foot stepped out. I was just kind of trying to stand away from the front of the ring — doing a little dance to not foul. Then I saw it land and I was pretty happy.”
Comito’s victory came in one of four men’s finals on the opening day of the DIII outdoor championships. Contested at Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex, the event runs through Saturday, with the overall team champion crowned that afternoon.
“Great coaching, great parents, just a great team, I guess,” Comito said of his discus run. “It’s been a great four years.”
It’s not quite over. The Spokane, Wash.,2 native tackles the shot put on Saturday, undoubtedly hoping for less drama. On Thursday, he followed his make-or-break third throw with successive, final-round efforts at 58.48 meters, 58.23 meters and an event-best 60.38 (198-1). The latter was a DIII championship meet record.
“Some of them just feel easy and those are the good ones,” Comito said.